Alfa Romeo Joins Red Bull & Ferrari in Voicing Out Against Mercedes’ Flexi-Wings F1 Protest

Published 05/29/2021, 6:13 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 20, 2021 Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in action during practice REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


Red Bull F1 team recently found themselves drifting into a controversy when Lewis Hamilton claimed that Max Verstappen’s rear wing was “bendy.” And this ultimately led to the Milton Keynes outfit acknowledging that they had introduced aero-elasticity into the rear wings of RB16-B.

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But were Red Bull alone on this venture? Well, no.

The Austrian team’s confession led to more teams admitting to the usage of flexi-wings, including Ferrari and their customers, Alfa Romeo Racing.

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Consequently, talks are going on in F1, which could lead to the ban of such aeroelastic wings. But, Alfa Romeo, like other teams, opened up that they are against banning flexi-wings and are ready to protest if the decision goes against their interest.

What did Alfa Romeo F1 say?

Alfa Romeo’s boss, Frederic Vasseur, opened up that the team have abided by the rules of F1 despite using such flexible rear wings.

Almost everyone has to. We all go to the limit of the rules. That’s the DNA of Formula 1. There was a rule, and it was clear. One degree of deflection at a load of 1,000 Newtons. You will increase that now. So we will respond.

“I just don’t think it’s ideal that we change this rule in the middle of the season,” he told Auto Motor Und Sport.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 7, 2021 Alfa Romeo Racing Team Principal Frederic Vasseur talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

We have to develop and produce the corresponding parts from scratch. Maybe that will cost you wind tunnel time again. And this at a time when we are all trying to reduce costs.

It looks like Mercedes, too, could suffer a drastic blow from F1’s potential technical changes to the wings. Red Bull‘s boss, Christian Horner, recently pointed out the hypocrisy in Mercedes’ claim, as the Briton revealed he noticed Mercedes‘ front wings bend too.

Not the right approach: Vasseur

The 53-year-old felt that it is too late for F1 to be making technical regulation changes in a bid to ban bending wings. He rather insisted that F1 makes these tweaks over the winter break when the teams are fully committed to testing their cars.

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi in action during practice REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

That is not the right approach. If you want to change a rule, you should do it in winter when the cars are being developed. And not after that. I don’t make the rules, but the timing seems wrong to me,” he said.

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Overall, it looks like more teams could join hands in the race against halting usage of aeroelastic rear wings. Hence, it is unlikely that F1 might be able to push the technical changes into the ongoing season.

But, if they do, well, then the teams aren’t going to go down without a fight either. So, how is this going to end? Will Mercedes win this protest? Or can Red Bull and others manage to hold on to the controversial rear-wings until the end of this season?

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Rohit Kumar

751 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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